Is crop failure the major reason for farmers’ suicides in Gujarat?
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the details of suicides committed by the farmers in Gujarat between 2003 and 2012 and the reasons for such action.
The reply to the application stated that between 2003 and 2007, 567 farmers committed suicide in the state and the corresponding number for the period from 2008 to 2012 was 135. The applicant stated that 42 farmers committed suicide in 2012 alone for reasons like crop failure, indebtedness and related matters. He also claimed that in 20 first information reports (FIRs) mentioned similar causes for suicides.
The applicant wrote to the Prime Minister requesting him to intervene in cases of farmers’ suicides and also demanded a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of farmers who had to commit suicide due to agrarian reasons. However, on the direction of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the union agriculture ministry wrote a letter to the applicant which stated that between 2003 and 2012 only one farmer in Gujarat committed suicide due to crop failure.
The applicant claimed that the data must have been misrepresented in the letter as it said that 668 farmers committed suicide due to non-agrarian reasons while only one farmer died due to agrarian reasons.